dangerous. Dangerous to whom, or to what? And dangerous how? Perhaps the last question is easiest to answer. How are the words of Jesus dangerous? They are dangerous in the way they push the envelope of what human beings are normally prepared to think, say, and do. They demolish our comfort zones, and tear down the walls of our predispositions and, yes, of our prejudices as well. Though loathe to admit it, we’ve made a midden of the garden, and the words of Jesus would have us set things right again. He knows that we won’t do it, won’t listen to Him, but He tells us anyway.
And yes, the words of Jesus are dangerous to us, because it is to us that He directs them, not ‘to the other guy,’ not to some people living in a faraway land, or on another planet. No, He speaks those dangerous words to me, to you, to us, to them, to all of us. Some people have found a false sense of security by believing that the words of Jesus can be interpreted only by clergy and apply only to them, letting the rest of us ‘off the hook,’ except as hearers of sermons. We let ourselves be a captive audience for a few hours a month. That’s all we want to hear of the words of Jesus. That’s enough for us.
Now, dangerous to what? Well, for starters, dangerous to the world, that is, to the ‘world system.’ That’s the thing—it almost has a personality, it’s so real—that controls us within the environment of the natural world. That’s the thing that puts MSG into everything we consume, so that we will become addicted to it. That’s the thing that divides and conquers all the people of the world, dumbs us down, makes us into wage slaves. That’s also the thing that’s been secretly seeded into the Church, where it crowds out and marginalizes anyone who’s not afraid of the words of Jesus, anyone who does what He says.
Yes, I’m afraid so. The words of Jesus are dangerous to the Church as well, so dangerous, in fact, that to make sure that no one hears what they shouldn’t, those words have been caged and crammed into traditions and formulas. The words of Jesus are dangerous, do not allow dogmatic accretions, resist capture by doctrinal elites, are spoken clearly and directly, and are interpreted only by acting on them. The Bible that contains them does not rob them of their power and authority, but only magnifies their universal truth. The words of Jesus are dangerous, because He speaks them to anyone who will listen.
And as for dangerous to whom? What can be more dangerous to those who want to build on a different foundation than the words of Jesus, which are the only foundation possible, because He speaks them? The words of Jesus are dangerous to all those who think they can proclaim the gospel with one voice, and with another preach a different message. The words of Jesus are dangerous because they pierce the hearts of all who hear them, disclosing what is hidden in every man to himself, granting a glimpse of the Last Judgment before the Day, making each one better or worse according to the choice he has made.
The words of Jesus are dangerous. They do not permit an interloper to enter. They allow no one and nothing to come between Jesus and His disciple. They honor only those who listen and obey, but hide themselves from those who only use them without doing them. No one and nothing is safe in earshot of the words of Jesus. They uproot, they bind, and they cast into the fire everyone and everything not planted by the Father. They are dangerous to those who resist them, to that which tries to subvert them, by making all that is hidden to be visible, and everything spoken secretly to be heard openly and by all.
Yes, the words of Jesus are dangerous.